Providers of health and social services
The contents of this article are subject to change due to the freedom of choice model. The Government will give a new proposal for the Freedom of Choice Act in spring 2018.
Even in future, public, private and third-sector operators can provide publicly funded health and social services for clients. However, clients would have more freedom than at present to choose their services providers.
Provision of services
Provision of services means that the service provider and its personnel offers health and social services to people. From 1 January 2020, counties will be responsible for the provision of the services. At present, it is the responsibility of municipalities and joint municipal authorities. Counties will in their service strategies inform which services they are offering and how they will integrate the freedom-of-choice services and other health and social services.
The provider of a publicly funded health or social service may be an unincorporated county enterprise, company, corporation, association, cooperative, foundation or a self-employed practitioner.
Counties as service providers
A county has the responsibility to provide health and social services so as to safeguard adequate access to the services and their economic feasibility. Services provided by a county must be given by an unincorporated county enterprise. In addition, a county can establish a county-owned company that provides services within the scope of freedom of choice. Counties will not, however, be obliged to establish companies.
Providers of freedom-of-choice services
According to the government proposal of 9 May, services offered by health and social services centres and dental clinics as well as services delivered against services vouchers or covered from personal health budget would belong within the scope of client’s freedom of choice. The Freedom of Choice Act will lay dawn provisions on this.
Counties would not arrange competitive tendering for freedom-of-choice services. All registered operators meeting the requirements could sign up as providers of health and social services within the scope of freedom of choice.
Counties would pay compensation to the service providers for the services they offer. (See Compensations) Client fees would be the same across all providers offering freedom-of-choice services.
Other providers of health and social services
Unincorporated county enterprises may open up health and social services to competition and buy them from private operators, organisations or other counties if those services are not available on the market within the scope of freedom of choice. Such services include, for example, long-term housing and care services for older people and people with disabilities or for clients of child welfare services.
Organisations as service providers
According to the freedom of choice model proposed by the Government on 9 May, organisations may operate in the new counties either in the non-profit sector or as service providers, or in both roles. Organisations will be well placed to provide health and social services to be delivered against services vouchers or covered from personal budgets. The provision of services must be clearly separated from organisations’ non-profit activities.
Occupational healthcare and private health and social services
There will be occupational healthcare services paid for by employers even in future. Even then most of people of working age will be using these services. Similarly, clients could still get private health and social services on their own expense, for example, using a private health insurance.
Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338
Maija-Riitta Jouttimäki, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 383
Pirjo Kainulainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. + 358 295 163 092